by jason chu

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    "I will never / bow to a / false master" tee with Foolish/Dreamer character and slogan block. High-quality screenprint pulled by hand in Long Beach, California on a high-quality cotton blank.

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released September 2, 2016

Producer // Joe Kye
Engineer // Sean Stack at Fat Cat Studio (Sacramento, CA)

Music also by // Soul Catalyst (track 4), LCKSMTH (track 8), DansonnBeats (track 9).

Thanks // Laura, Christina, Li, Erin (FS!); FS 2.0 (Audrey, Leo, Roland, Nancy, Brendan, Delena); 3 6 O (Rock, Ed, Erica, Chance & Tiffany); Chase, jpoon, Dyun; Carl, Ray, Dansonn, Tim (Great Co); Daniel & KP (VAGRANTS); Sam, James & Chung (Good Fruit); GOWE; Jason, Josh & Marilyn (J三); Beau Sia, Lady B, the Our Mic/Great Mic fam, #WeOwnThe8th, Tom, Diane, pken, Sylvia, Gael Sylvia, Future50, Craig + Lia @ the Pico Union Project, GlobalGent, Dan (ISA), Chucky, tnak, Kean, jsnell, Em, Jung, Tarpiner, Andrew (Bobaguys), Vic, Al Deng, vteck, jshen, t.sok, Sam Ng.

Nai nai. Tori. Mom & dad. Love you guys.




jason chu Los Angeles, California

Speaking hope, healing, and justice in a broken world.


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Track Name: SPEAK (ft. Chance Calloway)
I don’t tell THE Asian-American story, I
Tell OUR American storiES
In hopes that one day our people will see glory
Do you feel me?

And if you don’t? That’s cool
But if any one of these words breaks through and resonates with you
All the struggles you been through
Pain you thought only you knew?
This whole life been worth it.
Mama birthed me with a purpose, from Chinese restaurants, and nail salons, and into churches

Been called worthless
Been felt hurt inside
So if you’re numb, just know that feeling exists for a defensive service:
I ain’t mad at you!

But, beyond the bitterness that’s been in us, we’re buildin up these stories and the world will bear the benefits
We been a mess, but nothing’s been amiss
You gotta break some eggs evry time you make an omelet

I break it apart to put it back together like chemo on cancer
I have, no, answers
Just questions that’ll open up topics of discussion
You’ll have to shoot me to shut me up, I ain’t budgin
And maybe YOU won’t march or stand, but
You can, listen and
Listen, to me, speak
And I’ll listen to you,
Track Name: Grandma's Kitchen (ft. Olivia Thai)
This is grandma’s kitchen
Pictures of the grandkids when we was infants
An herbal medicine for evry symptom
From indigestion to bad intestines
No need to test it, Grandma suggests it!
My family’s dressed fashionably
Forget Paris, our style comes from PhD’s
I mean: cell phone holsters, Polos, jeans,
combovers, maybe khaki pants with the pleats, ah!
Uncle used to tease, I was a fat kid
Now when we at the table he be like, “rap, kid!”
Uncle’s business is doin under average
But Chinese families know how to manage that:
After dinner, you know he and pops gonna talk
And a check change hands between some grown up folk
.That’s family law: when family calls
It’s family’s job to pick family up, uh.

We’re here
We’re here for you

No matter where you go or who you become
It’s all good

Grandma’s cookin Chinese soul food
From local Asian groceries, not from Whole Foods
Relatives you’ve never seen but they know you
Wearin socks and sandals, but no shoes!
Youngest uncle brought his white girlfriend
She uses chopsticks and even speaks Mandarin
Grandma’s impressed, and yes before they left, she took a photo so that she could show them off to her friends
Kid table, sittin with your rich cousins
Your got the Benzo, AMG 6 cousins
Your mom’s face? Her look really says somethin
Yale just accepted your really smart cousin (awwwww man!)
There’s beef, duck, and fishes
Various conditions, melamine dishes
When fam come together it’s always delicious
We learned that inside a grandma’s kitchen

No, grandma, I still don’t got a girlfriend
I know you’re waitin on a baby, I don’t know, man
Evry time she asks the same question then
Drop a red envelope - I’m stuntin!
Ah, grandma really loves to show us off
But if you’re white you might think that she’s ignoring us
We don’t hug and kiss to demonstrate love
But braggin about us, she’ll talk your ear right off!
Grandma showed me love’s not just the words we say
I never spoke Chinese, still we communicate
Every time we ate, she gon refill my plate
My favorite dumplings and the buns with Sesame
Shelves stocked, with Asian DVD dramas
Vacay to Beijing, she bought fake Prada
MSG products, Jasmine tea, hard candy, callin me endlessly, that’s my grandmama!
Track Name: Beverly Hills (ft. Peter Su)
I met up with a friend I used to know in university,
He’s gettin money, got portfolio diversity, I planned to grill him cuz his stake is shakin out so comfortably
But he speaks first, HE’s jealous of the life I lead (What?)
This must be irony; I’m dreaming of what money brings, he envies me for bein free
I only see what he makes: salary
He spends that on what I make: chasin dreams.
I left feelin validated personally, realizin what pursuin music’s really worth to me
He’s caught up in a net, I’m surfin on another stream
Tech start up six figure cash don’t help him sleep:
So he keeps, Xanax, always in reach
But high walls can be breached by a small leak
Locks on the door don’t make you feel more secure
He said: “I miss what I had before”

Used to dream about Beverly Hills
Gold on the streets
The stars in reach

Used to dream about Beverly Hills
Now I’m free
Rather do me

I remember playin at Sean’s place with GI Joes, walked in his livin room my eyes were like where’d you get THOSE?
He had the battleship that cost more than my clothes
So money took a foothold on my little soul
In high school, I sold DVD’s we burned
College, I attended, that degree I need to earn
So that degree could help me search for my goal:
Gettin work, so I could kill myself to make a livin, funny how it works
It never let up, I thought that cash makes it better
but it’s just expensive paper for a suicide letter
But I get it: we lack it, we want it, we get it with debit -
regret it, return it, forget it
Repetitive motion, we’re afraid to stall out
Spend our lives for a check, never checkin our self
It took me twenty years to work it all out;
If you’re miserable poor, you won’t be happy with wealth.

Money. Men kill men cuz they want it
Money. The less you have, the more you think of it
Money. The root of all evil if you love it
The messes we get in just to pretend we got it
But hold up, I remember brother on the street
Asked me for a dollar fifty three for Mickey D’s
All the wisdom in the world couldn’t feed or cover feet
Suddenly, my philosophy was just an empty tweet
I wrote about it easily, sittin at my desk
Macbook plugged in, iPhone at rest
But when words are tested, I’m selfish as any man
So you tell me: was it money put these problems in my chest?
.I give power to the things I love
Money, clothes, bodies, status, God above
And as I wrote this song, I had to pause to self-reflect
How can I speak on greed when I don’t love my fellow man? ah!
Track Name: Sound & Fury
All the sound and fury but you ain’t say nothin
Millions of hits, but you aint change nothin
Millions of subs, but you ain’t gave nothin
Claim to be a leader but you ain’t lead nothin

Claim to be a leader but you not
Everything you do, just tryna stay hot
Got your little staff with your little photographs and kollaborations but really you did squat
Why am I the only Asian rapper speaking out on immigration - by the way, yea, fuck Donald Trump
Why we got a million covers of that new Adele single but nobody took the time for Trayvon (uh)
So go on, drop that vlog
Talk about how Asians love hip-hop
But when it come time to talk about the police crimes who’s the YouTuber answerin the call? (dial tone)
And I know my numbers don’t compare to yall
But honestly I never wanted to be near to yall
Cuz we are not the same, not near at all
I hit Huffington Post, you like to hit the mall
This is Martin King vs Martin Lawrence
I’m a lion roarin, you kill time and boredom
Yall kinda corny - well so am I
But try to give the people more than sound and noise

Ken Jeong aint did shit for me
Bobby Lee, he aint did shit for me
I understand they gotta feed they families
But they just dancing chinks on screen, please
I thought we been past that, do white people like this trash?
RIP John Hughes, yea I love breakfast club, sixteen candles ain’t my jam
But shout out the homies who makin they money
by runnin the system and building they compny
That’s Eddie, that’s Randall, that’s J Lin, that’s Aziz
That’s Margaret, that’s Mindy, that’s Constance, that’s Lucy
But if you got it, use it, move it, build it, or break it, lose it
When you die will your legacy live
Or will your money just rest in another man’s crib? Think

Stirrin the pot, I’m raisin the bar
To lift up our people, I’ll aim at the stars
Love hip-hop cuz it never doesn’t speak up
Asian rappers, why ain’t there one that speaks up?
Fox News racist, who call they bluff?
Targetin Muslims, who gon step up?
’06, Jin dissed the Tsunami Song
But now? It’s like we’re all scared to be tough
Plenty Asian rappers gonna act like they is
And I still swear Dumb won his battle with Diz
But why there a dozen Asian rappers with their YouTubes poppin and not one that spoke on Ferguson, huh?
I got love for you all: Gowe and J.Han
dan AKA dan, N A K, Sam Ock
MC Jin, G Yamaza, Taiyo Na, but ain’t none of you rapping with the soul of a Pac
Or a Nas or a Kdot so the lane’s wide and my mic’s hot
I’ma bang out til I wipe out or the White House
Til my name in the stars or in white out
Or I black out on the balcony shots rang out
Either way I’ma go out with a bang!
Conviction, delivery, stage presence, that’s the three elements that I bring!
Track Name: The Love (ft. FUZZY)
I never flew out on no Concord, no flu game, no encore
Sixteen in the suburbs, my life was more like real bored
Loner into hip-hop, I found friends on message boards, no Flight Club near my home,
I hit New York to buy Air Force
Ones with the gum bottoms, I wore em home the only one
in my school who got them, went to rap show new homies askin where did you cop them?
I felt so lucky, dunks on feet, before the Jeremy Scotts, pigeons put wings on me
Our crew, we grew to 10 deep, dressed in 10 Deep
Saved checks for ten weeks, to Nike check feet
Couldn’t sleep, when the Tiffanies dropped, one to rock, one pair deadstock
Line that stretched, around the block, they called the cops, but still we copped
Over there, Chinese kids put blood and sweat and tears in it
Just so over here, a Chinese kid could sweat and bleed for it
But still, I rock those III’s at least once or twice a week
Because the memories I got are often tied around my, feet

I don’t want hate around me, you just don’t speak my tongue
And when my heart is hungry, I
Do it for the love
For the love
I don’t want to lose my soul, please don’t stop
Pumpin in my veins when I take those shots
I do it for the love
For the love

The logos in those boxes had us thinkin out of the box
Copped One 2 3 for five bills cuz that 6 rings wasn’t hot
It was never about stuntin, we love the culture most
Resellers get cuts for the new drops, you sell shoes but can’t buy soul, and
This is not product, it’s culture, those Jordan 8 Aquas
Like agua our thirst was to be proper, just cop some
Just do it, that swoosh loosened tongues
Opened doors, talked to new girls, made new homies NikeTalk, and the
Kick shop was our other home, kicked game, we copped clothes
Learned there, lived there, we planted up, we got grown
My teachers always told me, I should shoot for the sky
Between you and I, we believed those kicks could make us, fly

They see the hype, the swoosh, the knit, the boost
The ads, the shootings, and they think that it’s just shoes
And they wonder why these kids drop four bills on their new boots
Keep the sweatshops in business while corporate recoups
But we know the secret, Supreme heads in Visvim
Since ‘Lo Lifes to RUN-DMC rockin Adidas
Profit designed it, but that’s just the basics
The culture, the love here, we’re the ones that made this.
Track Name: A Love Song (ft. FUZZY, Jessica Louise)
I told Katrina I loved her on the phone, we were fourteen
Didn’t know what those words mean, but they sounded like something
someone serious would say, so I used them like a bandage
To hide away the hurt I couldn’t show to friends or parents
She said it back, the summer passed, she took it back, but I!
learned to fiend for that feeling of falling in love
Garden State was my praise song, 500 Days my drug
Evry new crush, a new rush, a new first kiss, now I’m drunk
Broke up, sober, over, her, rebound, addict, overdose, broken -
YOU came through,
You made it all new
At first sight I knew, now my eyes only see you
Since that first night that we talked until the clock almost hit two
You walked me home through the streets of a city that was strange
I didn’t know how I should go, you already knew the way
And you checked out my baggage, but let me carry on
So my heart beat in half notes as I wrote you this song

I heard a love song
I heard a love song
Ba-dum Ba-dum Ba-dum

Your arm was so warm as we rode the upper deck of the bus
To the peak
As the city fell asleep
Her sky scraping light spread below
in the dark
Walkin through the dock, we shared your earbuds, now
Addicts break the cycle when they find a greater bond
And emotion that we’re showin is unexpectedly strong
I heard: “you don’t know what you got until it’s gone”,
but now I know,
ever since I saw it I knew what I want: you
caught me by surprise, like that all-nighter we pulled
Sunrise was so bright after our night out under the moon
Now I wake up to your emojis, don’t find sleep til you call me
My phone died four or five times, I lose track of time when we’re talkin
I’m all in, no stallin, so please don’t be rough
It’s not a crush, it’s a fact: I’m fallin in love with us
All in, no stallin, you showed me that love is
Not a buzz that can wear off, but the care I offer up - to you

You left, said you couldn’t commit
I tried to push it, said I’d move anywhere that you went
We both knew that I could give all I have, and you could take it
But it takes two to relate, you turned your back, I had to face it
You can ask Rock, ask Ed, that first week? Real bad
The second week? Bad too - by third week I had to take those messages and chats,
the vacations we planned,
the photographs that we snapped,
they all just ended up in my trash.
But you showed me what love is, that’s the memory that I kept
How I put my arm around you as we sat there on those steps
That was, love in the air as we shared about our past
And the love I gave to you is not love that I’ll never get back
So this love song is not for you - but it’s because we met
We both hurt, we both healed - now I wish you the best
I learned: love is not a check I wrote and you cashed
Instead, I know that love grows, even if you give and never get it back.
Track Name: I See (Little Sister)
Little sister,
I see you staring at the Kpop videos
and practicing their moves
Your, hips swing and heels groove but
When their eyes flare yours can’t follow

and I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but notice you swallow
Your disappointment
And I hope you know that it’s no BB Cream ointment, no
mascara halos that make your face glow, no
angels aren’t defined by the radius around their pupils

Little sister, I saw you
Laughin at jokes about Asians’ poor vertical vision
Your, smile was nervous, lacking purpose, hiding curses behind derision
Thinking, if you are in on the joke, you won’t be cast out by it
But I’ve had to learn: it’s not worth the buy-in, if what I’m buyin is so biased that it defines the lines of my eyelids as noncompliant

And I’ve seen you cryin in frustration that your eyes aren’t in syndication,
Twenty-four but in our nation your figure’s figured as teenager
So you curse genetic make-up and replace it with foundation
But that make-up couldn’t make one tenth of what our parents gave us!

What they say
I take it all
What you say
I take it all

Little sister, I’ve seen the ads from New York to Hong Kong
Carnival mirror images of women to become
They call you plain if you don’t dress up; if you do, you’re labeled fake
Either exotic geisha or awkward honor student brain
And freedom from your baggage feels an awful lot like shame
One thing I’ve learned: in lose-lose situations, you only win the game by never playing

So why play?

(arpeggios start)

It never stops: demands from others always keep comin around
If you’re slim, they call you skinny; if you’re not, they count the pounds
But opinions only matter if you value what they hold.
And all their money and attention weighs nothing next to your soul

And that’s worth more than Mastercard or surgery in Seoul
I’ve seen you shine, and when you do, you get more bright than grandma’s gold
You got a goal that you can hit that no one else could ever do
And when you’re in your element, no irony can tarnish you

So shout outs to my sister whose vision don’t need prescription
Who knows her confidence isn’t based on male ambition
Or the gaze of hating eyes who want to chisel hers away
Because I see you, little sister - but more important?
You see
your own
Track Name: New Eyes (ft. Ruth Sanga)
New eyes that look at the world in new ways
New eyes make contact, blue green and grey
New eyes I realized I never knew
When you realized [the?] feelings you trapped inside of you
New eyes that see the respect you earned
New eyes that test the lessons you learned
New eyes attract new guys and new games and tonight those eyes will be filled with new gazes
New eyes thrilled the first minute you saw, world through new lashes, no chains involved
New eyes insist you’re taken serious
New eyes fill with confidence and trust
New life written with the passage of time
New eyes that gleam with color but won’t die
Who knew I’d see such beauty and love through eyes that combine perfection - and flaws

I may not be what you think
As standard beauty
But I love my face, my eyes
And body

Those eyes were once made middle school jokes
Those eyes are stories of our kinfolk
Those eyes are dark but glow in sunlight, our people been hurt but still we gon fight
Those eyes contain five thousand years of pride
Those eyes saw dyin stars in old skies
Those eyes are shy but those eyes are kind, those eyes are so wise, those eyes are like mine
Those eyes speak of turnin the other cheek
Those eyes turned down so I couldn’t see you weep
They teased you because those eyes were too thin, synonymous with “cheap” or prostitute skin
Those eyes are me, those eyes are family, those eyes are ID of your identity
Those eyes are not weak, those eyes are not wrong, those eyes are holy, those eyes are from God

What’s the price of confidence?
What’s the cost to be happy in our own, skin?
Not my place to question, but do you see a stranger when the mirror is reflectin?
You said I’d never understand, the pressure from magazine covers, Asian mothers, and men
Whether tan, bleached, or blonde, we remix our colors like we cover pop songs
In a bottle how we battle all the barriers, right?
Some drink, some color their hair evry night
Some like to stand out, some like to act white
Found music, but I never been the stereo, type
New eyes break old lies
New skin needs new wine
New vibes and new highs come through with new life, second coming like Christ
You told me that therapy
Taught you so much about our parents,
we got a chance to re-set the path, through us, our generation bring the future to the past!
Track Name: Live If I Breathe (ft. MattAlmodiel)
Tired of feelin weak, too tired to not repeat
Starin at the mirror, I fear everything I see
Haunted by all my dreams (*), razor sing me to sleep
Either that or anything to maybe get through to me
Cheated on, cheated on her (*), try to cope, pills and porn, fill my home
I feel far gone, where is God? I thank God, pop don’t got, no hand guns, in the house,
If he does I might not make it past Fall
And if prozac and prayers don’t manage, I pretend that my heart still beats undamaged [heartbeat sound]
All the lil grudges, bad habits, lil packets, packs of matches, lil cuts from lil scissors hidden in the highest cabnets, ah!
They whisper lies, (so many lies), sweet little lies
Tellin me my family is better off if I die,
I been choked by the fight, but I know, I can write
And if my words breathe for me maybe I’ll be alive

(I live if I breathe)
(Live if I…)
(I live if I - breathe)

If silence is a curse
Words can be prayers
If my heart is a hearse
These verses are rebirth.
Hear me out, full of doubt, fear of crowds, full of fears I can’t share with my mom, but I can write for my peers
These are psalms, these are hymns, as I bare myself, new peace draws near
Hope of a future I don’t see, but I dream it
Despite my darkest secrets, I (lit a light and found my freedom
Needy and out) of control, but I found a way to adjust
Guilt was crowdin my soul, I had to (give it all up)
Afraid of lettin it go, that fear was rippin me up
Had to stop relivin the past so the present don’t pass me up (uh)

.I learned to listen, then learned to speak
(I learned to love, by learnin to receive,) yea
I learn to listen, and learn to speak
(I learn to love, by learnin to receive,) yea

And now my story recorded shows the hope and the courage
That I always had inside of me even though I ignored it
Tearin up at my Mac, as I look back on my voyage:
From the teenage depression, adolescent sensitive horror
In the dark for so long, I forgot to look for the light
I felt abandoned and left, I didn’t know what was right
Now I write what I write, for your healing, for your sight
For your hope, for your home, for your future (so you can fight)
And I know you think you’re the only one
To feel like (the only one)
Who’s had to walk this journey alone
But I wrote you this poem, and I fit these words to a song
To let you know: (struggle’s just a part of the growth!)
And I GOT through the cutting, and I’m FAcing my problems
And I STILL got some issues but I’ve STArted unsubSCRIbing
I’m a broken kid with dreams and a story to tell
And I know you got your story as well, now inhale, let it breathe
Track Name: Sufyan (Ryan's Son) (ft. Jessica Louise)
Sufyan, what’s up little man?
If you see your dad, I got a message for you to send
I’m not the sentimental type - well, I sometimes cry -
but these are words I’ve waited my whole life to write, you see
He and I used to dream about the future
After school on science team with (Ms. Gupta)
He was dating Anna Lu, I was dating Anne Lee, we all broke up but still remember it fondly
Years later, he met your mommy, they went from dating to engaging into wedding ring
next thing came you, they became a family
.and the whole time, I was away traveling.
I always forgot to send a gift,
So birthdays and holidays have all been things I missed
But words and melodies and memories I can give
So here’s a present to present to you on the day that you turn six!

Wherever you go
If ever you fall
Whenever you’re lonely
This song will guide you

Sufyan, what’s up little guy?
Your dad and I have changed a lot since junior high
But that’s just how the years go by, our lives take off and we forget that time, flies, mm.
I was feelin ungrounded, when I forgot that little town that we grew up in
But life is a garden bein groomed, I realized I’ll always have ties to my (roots).
Thanksgiving brought us all home and Ryan brought you over to my parents’ living room
We talked as you played your games, and I knew:
Our youth never died, it lives on (in you) - so,
I pray that you (never lose)
The admiration for your dad that I (see in you)
Not just a parent, he’s a friend and my brother and I hope you grow to be a man like I see in your father

May your storms bring rainbows
And your trials make you thankful
And evry painful experience be a tutor teaching you lessons that you can’t lose
In darkness, you will be a light
And you’ll always find the sun after every night
And your innocence and knowledge will be robes that serve as armor you can wear to evry trial and fight

Wherever you go
If ever you fall
Whenever you’re lonely
This song will guide you
This song will guide you

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